The concluding chapter discusses the implications of this analysis of shifting quality standards and dispute settlement mechanisms for broader debates in the literatures on institutional change and the governance of the global economy. Drawing on comparisons with the historical standards war at the turn of the twentieth century and other cases of Chinese standard-setting, this chapter demonstrates that specific instances of institutional change must be understood as constituted by and constitutive of broader transformations in the organization of the global capitalist system. The struggles in the cotton trade can be understood as reflecting and instantiating the transition from a British to a US-led hegemonic coalition, as well as the possible transition to a new hegemonic coalition in which both China and transnational firms are likely to figure prominently. A theory of institutional change in the global capitalist system thus sheds light on the broader competitive dynamics and power relations that shape who will set the rules of the game into the future.
Keywords: Hegemony, China, Transnational firms, Institutional change, Global capitalism